Top benefits of a children’s hospital, part 4

The habits of good health start in childhood. Children’s hospitals play an important role in ensuring kids have access to the preventive care they need to get started on the right foot.

Health is about more than visits to the doctor to take care of illnesses or injuries. In fact, good health is a mindset that starts with preventive health habits.

In our ongoing series about the benefits of children’s hospitals, we’ve talked about the importance of specialty-trained providers, child-sized medical equipment and child life professionals.

Today, we focus on the hospital’s role in the community.

Benefit No.4: Community benefit programs that promote a healthy start to life

In the past, people visited the doctor only when they were sick or had an injury. Today, we know that the best medicine is prevention.

The foundation of good health starts with eating a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of physical activity, and having recommended vaccinations and medical checkups. Children’s Hospital at Erlanger steps beyond the hospital walls to promote healthy living.

“We want to encourage kids to be proactive about healthy living from a young age,” said Cynthia Rhodes, R.N., M.S.N., chief nursing officer at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. “Our focus, as a children’s hospital, is on ensuring children receiving the vaccinations they need, understand the habits of healthy eating and, in general, know how to take care of their health.”

Out and about for kids’ health

One important community program for Children’s Hospital at Erlanger is the Care Mobile, a partnership with Ronald McDonald Charities of Chattanooga, the United Way of Bradley County and other area health organizations. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a school-based mobile medical clinic that travels to students at 15 schools in Bradley and Polk counties, provides care for acute illnesses and injuries as well as well-child checkups and sports physicals.

Care Mobile services are provided by a licensed nurse practitioner from Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. If students aren’t covered by health insurance, services are provided at no charge.

“Kids can’t do well in school if they aren’t healthy,” Rhodes said. “The Care Mobile program allows us to help kids stay healthy. We also have close relationships with pediatricians in the community — we share a focus on kids.”

Children’s Hospital at Erlanger also partners with local schools with an asthma prevention and care program.

“As a children’s hospital, we provide for the inpatient needs of kids,” Rhodes said. “But we also have a heavy emphasis on prevention out in the community.”

Children’s Hospital at Erlanger partners with other organizations to provide optimal care to children in Chattanooga and surrounding areas. Learn more.